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New island surgeries

SCOTLAND’S two most remote island communities will new get new medical surgeries this summer.

NHS Shetland said on Tuesday that £75,000 has been set aside for new surgery facilities on Fair Isle and Foula, after islanders had complained about inadequate facilities for many years.

Tuesday’s decision was welcomed by Fair Isle community councillor Fiona Mitchell who said she had started writing letters about sub-standard surgery facilities as early as the 1990s.

“We have been campaigning for a very long time. I hope NHS Shetland will demonstrate ongoing commitment towards the service, and we need to be sure that money is available for further service development,” she said.

NHS Shetland said on Fair Isle a property belonging to the National Trust will be refurbished and equipped, while a purpose designed prefabricated modular unit will be installed on Foula.

Chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “The need to provide modern clinic facilities on both Fair Isle and Foula has been a priority for us and I am very pleased that we now have plans that we can progress over the next few months.

“This will provide these communities, the nurses who live and work on the islands and visiting clinicians with modern facilities for delivering healthcare services.   

“I am aware that this is seen as a significant issue for these communities and I hope this confirmation of our plans will give them confidence that the work will now be taken forward.”

Both islands have a resident community nurse and a GP visit once a month.